do not read if you hate subjective maps of the unconscious

When I was tidying up my CV a few months ago, a colleague suggested that the “complete” version should list every piece I ever wrote, and every dream I ever logged. I do kind of like this idea — if only for its obnoxious self-absorbed uselessness — but it will take a little work to go back and get the tags inserted. You can quite easily skip it, now and forever.

lost worlds

Tom links to a blog about Kit Williams’s Masquerade: a book that was published (1979) just as I was at my most judgmentally teenage and unimpressable. I didn’t like the art and I didn’t like the idea — and yet as a kid, I’d often spent hours poring over record sleeves or illustrations in books, the kind that seem to be nothing but detail, to piece together the implied totality of the secret. The 1954 Argo Under Milk Wood (feat.Richard Burton), for example (see below the cut); or the climactic humiliation scene from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (ditto), drawn by Pauline Baynes as if to encompass the entire lurid netherworld. Looking again at this images I don’t even know how my young eyes took in so much — so fuzzy and confused they seem now, and it’s not just my poor scanning, because what I do make out is nothing I don’t already know in my bones. Continue reading “lost worlds”

blue notes on the modern bürgerliches trauerspiel

As much as anything as an act of expiation, grief and guilt from safe exile — as if to say ‘Wish you were here’ — Adorno begins his Philosophy of Modern Music (1948) with a long crabbed mouthful of a quote from his dead friend Walter Benjamin, on the history of philosophy “viewed as the science of origins”, as being “that process which, from opposing extremes, and from the apparent excesses of development, permits the emergence of the configuration of an idea as a totality… ” The book that follows unfortunately merely juxtaposes Schoenberg and Stravinsky, only the extremes of development of “modern music” if your view is really quite intellectually parochial — certainly it’s hard to envisage Adorno writing well about (say) Jelly Roll Morton or Bessie Smith, but there you go. Still, the idea of attempting to juxtapose extremes — at least as a technique or habit — is pretty good critical practice, I think.  Continue reading “blue notes on the modern bürgerliches trauerspiel”

… and few return to the sunlit lands

So I felt Radio Free Narnia had run its course: I’ll keep it up as long as pitas (pitas!)  carries on, and it’s all carefully saved barring link decay, but it belongs to another time. Exactly what HT offers that I can’t find in the Realm of Sedge and Bean or the other orrery remains to be seen. I am rhizomatic; hear me rustle…